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    Alexei Pichugin, the prisoner of Lefortovo | 16 Aug 2016

    Alexei PichuginAlexei Pichugin, the former employee of YUKOS, who has been recognized the political prisoner by the «Memorial» Right Protection Center (Moscow), is held in the ward of the Moscow Lefortovo remand prison (SIZO) for a little more than a month. HRO.org has gathered information regarding the attendance of Pichugin by the members of the Public Monitoring Committee.

    Ludmila Alpern, the member of the Moscow Public Monitoring Committee established to monitor human rights in the detention facilities of the Moscow metropolitan area. Together with other colleagues, she repeatedly visited Alexei Pichugin, as well as other prisoners in the Moscow pre-trial detention facilities.

    lexei Pichugin was convoyed to Lefortovo from the prison «Chernyi Delfin» situated in Sol-Iletsk, Orenburg region intended for life-sentence prisoners.

    After the interrogation in the capacity of a witness dated July 13, 2016, during which the political prisoner had refused to testify, no investigation activities regarding him were held.

    The prisoner meets with his attorneys once or twice a week. The remand prison (SIZO) «Lefortovo» is known to have lack of chambers where prisoners can meet with their attorneys.

    This problem is actually serious, since every Friday, attorneys have to settle by lot who and when (date and time) is going to meet with their clients.

    Only after all attorneys have visited the remand prison (SIZO) according to their lot on the certain date, it is possible to visit the prisoners on a first-served basis.

    With regard to the foregoing, the role of the public monitoring executed by the Public Monitoring Committee becomes more meaningful. At the times when the controversial Pichugin case was investigated and heard, the Public Monitoring Committee did not yet exist. Currently, through the agency of human rights defenders, places of detention has become more transparent for the public monitoring, which has been highly estimated by Alexei Pichugin.

    «I am thankful to Zoya Svetova, Ludmila Alpern, Elena Masiuk, Eva Merkacheva, Anna Karetnikova, and all Public Monitoring Committee members for their concern and kind and sincere attitude! I bow down before all of them and respect them for this essential, hard, and noble work to which they dedicate their time, health and energy. I am thankful to them over and over again», Mr. Pichugin wrote in one of his letters.

    The members of the Presidential Council for Human Rights Maria Kannibakh and Andrei Babushkin, who is in charge of the Presidential Council for Human Rights Commission for the cooperation with the Public Monitoring Committee and penitentiary system reform, also visited Alexei Pichugin.

    «In spite of the „specific remedial measures“ (we have never dealt with such measures before, though we have visited other prisoner with the life sentence  Tikhonov, our meeting [with Pichugin] appeared to be very warm-hearted. He was obviously glad to see us, and even five security guards who were standing between us did not bother us. It seemed like there was no security guard at all. Or, rather, they participated in our meeting: they were smiling, etc.», Ludmila Alpern described one of the meetings with Mr. Pichugin in Lefortovo.

    «It is hard to describe how Alexei feels. As a rule, he approaches other prisoners, sits on the neighboring bunk beds, and has long conversations, and discusses their problems. We enter with the increased security, a number of people stand between us, our conversation is short. He is glad to see us, he is usually friendly and smiling», she also admitted.

    Mr. Alexei Pichugin has no neighbors in his ward: according to the law, the prisoner cannot be kept with persons under investigation.

    There is no TV set in the ward, as well as there is no refrigerator. According to Ludmila Alpern, Alexei has to apply for it. The prisoner does not receive any newspapers, since he did not subscribe for any. Instead, the political prisoner actively uses the local library and reads fine literature.

    Alexei Pichugin has repeatedly emphasized that he has no complaints regarding the conditions of his detention, nor other complaints regarding the detention facility (SIZO) management.

    Neither Mr. Pichugin, not his attorneys know how long he is going to stay in Lefortovo.

    Given that the situation is uncertain, letters serve as a moral support to him. As much as for other prisoners, its very important for Alexei to know that people remember about him.

    For some reason, FSIN (Federal Penal Enforcement Service) letter service is not available in Lefortovo. This service allows to write electronic messages to prison. However, conventional (paper) letters can be received without limitations.

    Such letters remain one of a few binding threads that connect the man with the outside world. In fact, its not so important what you write about. Anyway, when the prisoner reads the letter of support from outdoors, it feels like he is not behind the bars.

    Vera Vasilieva, HRO.org


  • 14 years behind bars without fair trial. What did Strasbourg rule in the case of Pichugin?
  • Zoya Svetova: Who is it, Mikhail Savitsky, conducting an interrogation of Aleksey Pichugin
  • Alexey Pichugin: «I wrote a motion to have a visit from my mother»
  • Statement of Igor Viacheslavovuch Sutyagin
  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky: «An innnocent man, Alexey Pichugin, is still behind bars»
  • The European Court of Human Rights. CASE OF PICHUGIN v. RUSSIA. Judgment
  • Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger about Alexey Pichugin case
  • Leonid Nevzlins interview about the «case»
  • The «Amnesty International» is anxious about Alexey Pichugins condition

  • Trial of vengeance

  • Journalist Valeriy Shiryaev on the first case of Aleksey Pichugin in his book «Trial of vengeance. The first victim of the YUKOS case»
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